Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses…“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.”
For whatever reason, I always thought about this parable as it related to the generous master and those ungrateful invited guests. I have recently discovered, however, the rich imagery of Jesus’ message by looking at the story through the eyes of “the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.” The big surprise of the story is not that the invited guests bailed, but that the people most unlikely to be invited got to come.
Put yourself in the story for a minute. Imagine you are a poor beggar on a cold night, outside the gates of a lavish mansion. With warm light in the windows and delicious smells occasionally in the wind, the party inside is a world apart. Now, imagine your disbelief and shock when a servant of the host comes to you and says, “Stand up, come inside.” Staring, jaw dropped, you stammer “Me?” “Yes, he wants you.” You are brought inside, tenderly cared for, cleaned, and fitted with new clothes. Led to the front table, you are seated next to the master and presented with the best offerings of the feast. A little later, the master announces to the guests that he is adopting you into his very own family.
When seen from this perspective, the story becomes a beautiful metaphor of our relationship with God. In a spiritual sense, we are the poor and needy astonishingly invited to a lavish banquet. God brings us from a place of deep need into his house, even into his very own family. This is the core of the gospel message.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Who would be more grateful to the master? The original invited guests or the ones pulled from the alleys and streets? Why? What are some things you could do to make this season a reminder of the blessing of God’s remarkable invitation?
PRAYER: Lord, we are grateful for our salvation today. Don’t let complacency or comfort dull our
gratitude for the amazing love you demonstrated through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Help us avoid ingratitude. Help us understand that we are the poor and needy that you have chosen for the life-giving banquet. Amen.